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Theatre review: Worth A Flutter, Hope Theatre, Islington

PUBLISHED: 17:49 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:49 14 May 2018

The Cast of Worth A Flutter at the Hope Theatre

The Cast of Worth A Flutter at the Hope Theatre

Archant

Hollyoaks star Paul Danan and glamour model Lucy Pinder give good performances in this raucous satire of lad culture

The Cast of Worth A Flutter at the Hope Theatre The Cast of Worth A Flutter at the Hope Theatre

WORTH A FLUTTER

HOPE THEATRE

HHHHI

There are times when the arrival of a new play piques your interest in a way that challenges one’s own prejudices.

There is the initial cursory browse of a synopsis before the eyes are pulled to the cast list.

The combination clicks together and ping! an opinion is formed.

For many, a play starring Hollyoaks actor Paul Danan and glamour model Lucy Pinder will likely engender a preconceived view.

The brainchild of Londoner Michael Head, who stars as well as writes, the tone is resolutely rooted in the capital’s gutter but looks forlornly towards the stars. With added surrealism, madcap mayhem and a bagful of sexual innuendos.

We meet Matt (Head), who is dating the glamorous airhead Paige (Pinder). She has a wayward relationship with common morality. He’s paranoid about her cosiness with other men, which includes his player ‘pal’ Paul (Danan).

As dissatisfaction niggles, he finds himself attracted to Helen, the waitress serving up his brew and bacon sarnie in his local cafe, Helen (Clare McNamara) is emotionally bruised herself, but soon ends up in a love triangle with Matt and Sam (Jack Harding), who is nursing woes of his own.

Pencils are no doubt sharpened ready to ridicule reality telly star Danan and model Pinder, but their performances are knowing and self-aware of the play’s archetypes. Pinder is strikingly versatile and exudes a natural ease on stage, replete with adept comic timing. Danan reminds audiences of his roots in theatreland.

McNamara, Head and Harding, both individually and collectively, show real acting pedigree.

Worth a Flutter is like a thirty-somethings Inbetweeners: lascivious, raucous and excitable. Whether or not this holds appeal will depend on the individual. Arguably, there could be a little more of the pathos injected in the denouement between Helen and Sam but, overall, there’s more raggedy charm and neat one-liners than you’d find from a seasoned market stall salesman.

Under Worth a Flutter’s surface lurks a biting satire on lad culture and braggadocio, filled with heart and jokes. Heck, it’s worth a flutter in itself.

Greg Wetherall

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